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Re: eremurus

A-Z says zones 5-8 and these did bloom well previously in my zone 5a garden.
for pictures.
Below is the info I have used when I've sold these at our bulb sale.  This
is followed by a more extensive, though not long, coverage by Ann Lovejoy
that I use as a handout.  If you are interested, let me know and I'll send
them out.

Eremurus 'Cleopatra'
Foxtail Lily
Plant:  6 in deep, 36 in apart
Height:   3 - 6 feet
Bloom:   May / June
Color:   Light Orange

Tall, graceful candles from yucca-like leaves, open up from mysterious
beginnings.  Fun to watch. Also known as Desert Candles, these magnificent
spires of dense flowers are one of the most spectacular, early
summer-flowering blooms.  Cleopatra is burnt-orange with darker red midribs.

Plant immediately.  Cover the spidery rootstocks with six inches of soil.
They prefer rich, very well-draining soil with nice, bright sun and
protection from wind.  Mulch well.  Sandy soil enriched with compost or
leafmold is ideal.  Handle the roots with care, as they are brittle.  Dig a
wide, shallow hole and plant with the pointed bud in the center facing up.
If plants become over-crowded, they may push crowns out of the soil.  Dig
and lift them carefully, tease apart and replant.

Planting Eremurus by Ann Lovejoy

The curiously shaped roots of eremurus often present a puzzle to first-time
growers, who wonder what on earth to do with what looks like a limp-fingered
starfish.  For starters, handle them with care - those fingerling roots are
easily detached.  All eremurus have a swollen central bud with radiating
roots, but vary somewhat by species.

Eremurus prefer fairly shallow planting and quickly lift themselves to the
soil surface if planted too deeply.  Newly planted eremurus fare best when
the central bud is set just a few inches below soil level with the long
shoots sloping down and away.  This involves excavating a generous hole, one
at least 6 inches wider than the wheel of roots.  Dig the hole to a depth of
about a foot.  If the garden soil is light and drains freely, you can simply
mound up a flattened hill of compost and aged manure in the center of your
excavation.  Set the big roots on this mound, with the hairy crown bud
facing up.  If you are faced with stiff clay soil that does not drain
freely, make your excavation deeper and line it with two to three inches of
fine gravel.  Top this with a few inches of blended compost, aged manure,
and grit, then add a small mound.  Again, center the bud atop this, sloping
the fat roots off to the sides.  Finally, surround each central bud with a
wide (8 to 12 inch) circle of grit to promote quick drainage.  In both
cases, cover the roots with quick draining planting mixture.

Where slugs are rampant, a topdressing of sandy grit and diatomaceous earth
protects from both excess moisture and slimy predators.  Such gritty
mixtures are also useful where summers are wet.  In Europe, 4 to 6 inch
mounds of grit are heaped over each bud as dormancy approaches (in mid to
late summer).  These mounds serve multiple functions, keeping the slumbering
buds dry, warding off winter frost, discouraging slugs, and reminding the
gardener that something of value is resting beneath the apparently unused

If you have a hard time deciding which end is up, look closely at the
swollen crown bud.  Generally, one side is smoother and rounder, while the
other has one or more pointed tips, rather like tulip bulbs.  The smooth
side produces fine feeding roots, while the pointy buds break into next year
's bloom stalks.  The side roots can also give you a clue; in many species
these roots flop out and down if you support the crown bud in your hand.
Bigger, stiffer side roots such as those of E. robustus won't flop, but in
such plants, the central bud usually rises much higher above the roots on
the bud side than on the feeder root side.

Should you succeed so well with your eremurus that they become overcrowded,
they will begin to push themselves out of the soil.  In that case, when the
plants have finished blooming and the stems have browned off, lift the great
roots with a garden fork, beginning well away from the stalks.  As you
loosen the soil, you will see densely interlayered mats of roots.  Fork
these up whole, then tease the crowns gently apart.  It is almost impossible
to do this without losing a few root fingers in the process, but working
slowly allows you to see where the roots lie, which helps minimize damage.
Use a big, wide-tined farmer's fork rather than a narrow border tool to
reduce breakages.  Cover the newly dug roots with a tarp or heel them into a
nursery bed until their new homes are ready.           ? A.L.
neIN, Z5

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rich Apking" <red4@omni-tech.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 10:42 PM
Subject: RE: [CHAT] eremurus

> Hi Kitty,
> Is this a lily I could grow here on the North border of Z-5?  Also what do
> they look like, the reason is I wouldn't mind if a few came this way if
> could survive.  Also the discussion of Baptista; will that grow here? and
> so, which cultivar or variety would be best in my location.  Thanks in
> advance for your advise.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net]On
> Behalf Of Chapel Ridge Wal Mart National Hearing Center
> Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 1:08 PM
> To: meditplants; gardenchat@hort.net
> Subject: [CHAT] eremurus
> My Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus x isabellinus 'Cleopatra', a Shelford Hybrid)
> did not flower this year.  It was either because they were crowded or too
> shaded, probably both.  I dug them up to put something else in, separated
> them and laid them out to cure.  What now?  I thought I might try selling
> them cheaply as is - I don't want to  pot them as they require a lot of
> width, meaning a lot of soil - and since I can't be sure why they didn't
> flower, I don't want to waste the soil or my space on them or ask much $.
> (sale is end of August)  But they seem healthy and very flexible after
> having just been dug.  I fear the roots will get more fragile as time
> out of the soil.  What would you do with them?  Store in moist
> Toss in the trash?  any ideas?
> Kitty
> northeast Indiana, Zone 5
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